Small is Beautiful Blog

Written by Jeremy Beasley • Notebooks

Small is Beautiful – Notebooks

We collaborated with illustrator Melissa Rachel Black and Portland-based Scout Books, to create a beautiful, environmentally-friendly notebook for all you dreamers and tiny housers out there.
Why did we create these notebooks? Inspiration.

We love dreaming, and therefore we love notebooks and sketchbooks. In fact, Small is Beautiful was first conceived on notebooks in Airbnb rooms in Buenos Aires, and later elaborated in another notebook at a creek-side cabin in Oregon. As travelers, we especially love pocket-size notebooks, which allow us to capture inspiration and epiphanies wherever they strike. And if you?re going to have a notebook, it better have high marks in both form and function. That?s why we brought together Melissa?s playful designs with Scout?s 100% recycled papers and vegetable-based inks. We love the idea of inspiring you to sketch and scrawl your reflections and dreams.

We hope the stories of Small is Beautiful will inspire you to see your life and priorities in a new way, and we think our notebooks are a perfect complement. We invite you to be a dreamer!


Melissa Rachel Black

Last Valentine’s Day, I got my deer illustration tattooed on my arm–the very same deer that was the first illustration I sold–as a reminder that I’m enough, that imperfections are beautiful and what make us human, and to publish even though I’m scared.

I’m an illustrator living in Portland, Oregon. I make really simple black and white illustrations, not too different than what used to pepper the insides and outsides of my notebooks throughout school.

I have my own greeting card company, a book of downloadable stock illustrations, and I get to draw for people all over the world.

My style is a reflection of my beliefs and my personality–I love the ideals of minimalism, focusing on mindfulness, that less is more, and finding beauty in simplicity. I also love the way kids experience life. Their wonder, curiosity, playfulness and joy inspire me on my darkest days, so I always try to remember to play while working. I chose this path, art and creativity, because it’s brought me joy from a young age, and I hope that comes through in my creations.

Scout books

All of our Scout Book papers are 100% recycled and sourced from paper mills in the Pacific Northwest. By supporting nearby mills, we can help strengthen our local economy. By having our papers travel shorter distances to get here, we can lessen the impact that freight transport can have on the environment.

We print all Scout Books with vegetable-based inks made from plant oils like saower, soy, corn and canola. Our inks are expertly milled and mixed right here in Portland.

Since its modest beginnings as a simple pocket notebook, the Scout Book has grown to shine in multiple contexts and uses.

We?re fortunate to work with a fantastic cast of clients and collaborators. We strive to connect our creative network with exquisite printing, and from the beginning we?ve joined up with individuals and organisations in the design and business communities to create print products with impact.

– Laura Whipple, Scoutbooks

For 20% of the notebooks use the code: STARTSKETCHING


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